NATIONAL PARKS SAFARIS ETHIOPIA

HIGHLIGHTS, WHERE THEY ARE AND HOW TO VISIT THEM

Home Up Ethiopian Wildlife Endemic Birds Awash National Park Bale Mountains NP Mago National Park Omo National Park Gambella Simien Mountains NP Nechsar National Park Alatish National Park Babile Elephant Sanctuary


 

 
 

ETHIOPIAN WILDLIFE

ETHIOPIAN WILDLIFE. Recently updated complete wildlife list of Ethiopia and your best options to see as many species of mammals as possible

Ethiopian Wildlife

While Ethiopia with about 320 species 9 of mammals is one of Africa's most diverse countries for mammals, most populations of the medium and large sized mammals are severely depleted and difficult to see, as they suffer from habitat loss and hunting pressure almost everywhere in the country, including in most protected areas. Nevertheless, the country is fascinating for watching wildlife, as at least 36 species are endemic, about a quarter of which are large mammals. Furthermore, at least nine new species of small mammals have been described from the Ethiopian Highlands over the past half century, and at least as many, formerly assumed to be synonyms of better-known species, have been shown to be species in their own right and more species may yet be discovered.

 

Why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL cultural places Ethiopia is so famous for, and on top of that, you get to see up to 12 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a conservation forester. There is nothing similar on the market. As Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize tours in modules. Destinations Overview: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eathern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes will be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip for an incredibly low price!

 

To the public at large, Zebras, Giraffes, African Elephants, Hippos, Buffaloes, Gazelles, Antelopes, Rhinoceroses and Warthogs are essential species expected to be seen in great numbers of Ethiopian wildlife and at close range during a safari tour. Even though most species are still present, such conditions no longer prevail in most of Ethiopia, and only few protected areas have wildlife populations that may somewhat live up to the high expectations of safari tourists. The best areas for safari tourism are: Omo National Park, Gambella National Park, Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary and Nechsar National Park, only the latter two of these currently being relatively readily accessible all year around. Nevertheless, Ethiopia has a vary interesting number of species of special concern that has sparked international recognition in the nature oriented tourism market.

 

Seasonally, the migration of the White-eared Kob, Kobus kob, is a dramatic spectacle to see as it forms the second largest mammal migration in Africa. Travelling across the open woodland bush in South Sudan at the end of the dry season, they visit the plains of the Baro and Gilo Rivers, where Gambella National Park is located, in search of open water and wetlands. More than a million of them are estimated to come to those wetlands on the border of South Sudan and Ethiopia each year, along with much smaller herds of Buffaloes and a scattering of Elephants and Giraffes.

 

Small herds of Elephants still survive in different parts of the country and the herds in Kafta Shiraro and the Babile Elephant Sanctuary have monitored with teletracking devises. With more than 300 individuals, the Babile herd is the largest in the country. Some herds migrate back and forth into neighbouring countries.

 

Of the three surviving Zebra species, two occur in Ethiopia, the Plains Zebra, Equus quagga, and the Grévy's Zebra, Equus grevyi . Formerly common in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, Grevy’s Zebra currently depends for its survival on Kenya and Ethiopia, with the populations in Ethiopia being greatly diminished.

 

The Somali Wild Ass, Equus africanus somaliensis, is the only surviving race of Equus africanus and only about 100 individuals remain in the wild, migrating north-south along the Awash valley and Afar Depression into Eritrea.

 

Swayne's Hartebeest was previously found in both Somalia and Ethiopia, but now it is restricted to Ethiopia only. The small surviving population is restricted to the grass and thorn scrub plains of the Rift Valley lakes region. The best known herd is about 100 head which inhabits an area of 400 sq. km in and near the Nechsar National Park. However, the largest known population is on the heavily settled plain of Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary, where a population survives of about 500 individuals.

 

Ethiopia is home to the world’s only population of Walia Ibex, Capra walie, which is found only in and around the Simien Mountains National Park and classified as “endangered” according to the IUCN Red list criteria. Being down to 200 - 250 individuals in 1994- 1996, the population has recovered to 745 individuals during the 2009 count and is very visible in the park.

 

The Mountain Nyala, Tragelaphus buxtoni, is endemic to the eastern highlands of Ethiopia, south-east of the Rift Valley, between 6°N and 10°N. Formerly it occurred from Gara Muleta in the east to Shashemene and north Sidamo in the south, but has been eliminated from a large part of its former range. Currently, the main area of distribution is the Bale Mountains National Park and the eastern escarpments of the Bale massif.

 

The Ethiopian Wolf, Canis simensis, is perhaps the most researched of all the endangered species of Ethiopia. Population estimates of the Ethiopian Wolf across the species’ range suggest that between 360 and 440 adult wolves remain, of which less than 250 are mature individuals. From a tourism point of view the Ethiopian Wolf is well-visible in most areas where it occurs and is a prized attraction for both Simien Mountains and Bale Mountains National Parks, as well as for the community parks where it occurs.

 

Other canines include the Golden Jackal, Canis aureus, Black-backed Jackal, Canis mesomelas and the Side-striped Jackal, Canis adustus, are also widespread, and like many mid-size predators. While still occurring widely in Ethiopia, Striped and Spotted Hyenas, Hyaena hyaena and Crocuta crocuta, are common highlights for tourists. While the Striped Hyena is essentially a rural, solitary, lowland species, the Spotted Hyena is common on the plateau, and even in urban areas, including Addis Ababa. The spectacle of wild Spotted Hyenas being hand-fed outside the city walls of Harrar is a notable tourist attraction. The much smaller Aardwolf, Proteles cristata, is fairly common - though rarely seen - in the eastern lowlands, including Awash National Park.

 

The three large African cats are still present in Ethiopia, albeit at severely reduced levels. The Black Mane Lion, Panthera leo abyssinica or Abyssinian Lion, a subspecies of the Lion, is revered in Ethiopia, where it symbolizes both the nation and the former emperor; it occurs on the national currency and is often depicted in statues. Abyssinian lions are smaller than their East African cousins and the males have distinguishable dark manes. Experts say only 1,000 Abyssinian lions remain in Ethiopia. No data are available on the common species.

 

The number of known resident Cheetahs, Acinonyx jubatus in eastern Africa (Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) is estimated at 2,500 adults and independent adolescents. In Ethiopia, the species occurs in the Danakil Depression, and other sources relate it to occur in the Ogaden desert, but no recent records from scientists could be verified.

 

Reportedly, Leopards, Panthera pardus, are still widespread throughout Ethiopia, but no data have been found to corroborate such statements. The species is highly adaptable, and can be found from rainforests to deserts. With up to 4 cubs per litter, it has a high potential for survival under conditions of high mortality, such as high hunting pressure. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch and its prey includes small animals, by means of which it can survive in areas where big game has become scarce.

 

The Gelada, Theropithecus gelada, is an endemic primate restricted to high grassland escarpments in the deep gorges of the central Ethiopian plateau, between 1,800 and 4,400 masl. The Blue Nile gorge and the upper Shebelle River valley (east of the Bale massif) mark the western and southeastern boundaries of the range, respectively. Gelada overall has a large range and is still abundant despite increasing threats to the species.

 

Savannah mammals

The Abyssinian or Black Mane Lion still occurs in Ethiopia but at very low levels of its population. There are no data on the Cheetah, but it is supposed to still survive in isolated regions like the Danakil Depression and the Somali Region.

The Abyssinian or Black Mane Lion still occurs in Ethiopia but at very low levels of its population.

There are no data on the Cheetah, but it is supposed to still survive in isolated regions like the Danakil Depression and the Somali Region.

   
Swayne's Hartebeest now only occur in Ethiopia, particularly in Nechsar National Park and Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary. Several protected areas in the Central Rift valley have decent populations of the Plains' or Burchell's Zebras.

Swayne's Hartebeest now only occur in Ethiopia, particularly in Nechsar National Park and Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary.

Several protected areas in the Central Rift valley have decent populations of the Plains' or Burchell's Zebras.

   
Hippos are still rather widespread along different water bodies Ethiopia, including Lake Tana Ethiopia's largest herd in Babile Elephant Sanctuary

Hippos are still rather widespread along different water bodies of the country, including Lake Tana, where the can be frequently seen at the south east outlet into the Blue Nile.

Small elephant herds are scattered along different park of the country; the largest herd in Babile Elephant Sanctuary.

   
Common in Awash National Park, the Oryx is a very draught hardy species Some of the last Somali Asses still survive in the Danakil Desert

Common in Awash National Park, the Oryx is a very draught hardy species, that even occurs in extreme deserts like the Danakil Depresson.

With ony about 100 individuals left in the wild, the Somali wild ass is one of the most threatened large mammals in the world. It occurs in the parks of the Afar Triangle.

   
The White-eared Kob, is the second most common migratory mammal in Africa. Its most eastern range is Gambella National Park, Ethiopia Remnant populations of the African buffalo can be seen in quite a few of the national parks of Ethiopa

The White-eared Kob, is the second most common migratory mammal in Africa. Its most eastern range is Gambella National Park, where it can be seen during the season.

Remnant populations of the African buffalo can be seen in quite a few of the national parks, but it is most common in Gambella National Park.

 

Highland mammals

 
The Gelada is an endemic baboon of the highland grasslands of Ethiopia The Mountain Nyala is a common endemic antelope in Bale National Park

The Gelada is an endemic baboon of the highland grasslands. It is still very common and sightings in the Simien Mountains National Park are almost guaranteed.

The Mountain Nyala is a common endemic antelope in Bale National Park, where sightings are frequent.

   
The Walia Ibex has been recovering over the last decade in its only area of distribution, Simien Mountains National Park The Ethiopian Wolf is the flagship species for conservation in Ethiopia

The Walia Ibex has been recovering over the last decade in its only area of distribution, Simien Mountains National Park, where chances are high to see it grazing in the Afro-alpine meadows.

The Ethiopian Wolf is the flagship species for conservation in Ethiopia and well visible in Simien Mountains and Bale National Parks.

 

Birds

The Ethiopian avifauna represents an interesting mixture of African, Palearctic and some strikingly unusual endemic components, that in recent years has caught the interest of the international birding community, making Ethiopia one of Africa’s fastest growing destinations for birdwatching. Its 860+ avifauna counts at least 596 resident species and 224 others are regular seasonal migrants, including 176 ones from the Palearctic. Thirty-one species of global conservation concern have been recorded.

 

43 species are restricted to Ethiopia and neighboring states on the Horn of Africa of which 18 or 19 (depending on certain taxonomic criteria) are endemic to the country. Most of the endemic birds that are endemic to the highlands are distributed widely, but five species are restricted to tiny areas. Below the list of endemic and rare species of birds of Ethiopia.

Endemic and rare birds of Ethiopia

 

While qualifying for being the ugliest bird in Africa, the Maribou Storks are interesting water birds Crowned or Demoiselle Cranes occur in Western Ethiopia, particularly Gambella National Park

While qualifying for being the ugliest bird in Africa, the Maribou Storks are interesting water birds that can be seen along the shores of the Rift Valley lakes.

Crowned or Demoiselle Cranes occur in Western Ethiopia, particularly Gambella National Park.

   
The Rüppel's Vulture is a rare vulture occurring in the Northern mountains of Ethiopia The Shoe-billed Heron is a rare bird occurring in Gambella National Park.

The Rüppel's Vulture is a rare vulture occurring in the Northern mountains of Ethiopia.

The Shoe-billed Heron is a rare bird occurring in Gambella National Park. 

   
The Purper Roller is a very pretty bird that can be seen on high posts or telephone lines in Ethiopia Some of the most colorful birds of Ethiopia is the Blue Breasted Bee Eater

The Purper Roller is a very pretty bird that can be seen on high posts or telephone lines from where it hunts for insects.

Some of the most colorful birds of East Africa is the Blue Breasted Bee Eater.

   
Village Weaver in Ethiopia The Abyssinian Bush Crow is an endemic bird of the South Eastern highlands of Ethiopia

Weaver birds are always fascinating birds when they build there nests, like this Village Weaver.

The Abyssinian Bush Crow is an endemic bird of the South Eastern highlands, where it can be seen frequently, particularly in Yabellow Nature Reserve.

 

Reptiles and Amphibians

Together, reptiles and amphibians are called "herpetofauna". Of the approximately 240 reptile species recorded for Ethiopia, 15 are endemic. Most of the endemic species have been recorded in protected areas. With a total of 71 amphibians for the country, the amphibian herpetofauna of Ethiopia is rather poor. Nevertheless, with 30 endemic species it has a high degree of endemism.

 

 

The Nile Crocodile still occurs in most fresh water bodies. It can almost always be seen in Nechsar National Park. The African Spurred Tortoise is occurs almost anywhere in Ethiopian savannahs

The Nile Crocodile still occurs in most fresh water bodies. It can almost always be seen in Nechsar National Park.

The African Spurred Tortoise is occurs almost anywhere where savannah vegetation still is present.

 

Fish fauna

With 150 species the  fish-fauna of Ethiopia does not seem all that numerous, considering the size of the country, but with about 40 endemic species endemism is proportionately high. No endemic species are known from the lowland waters, but endemism in the waters of the Ethiopian plateau is high. The greatest endemic fish diversity is found in Lake Tana and its watershed. Several species of the endemic fish are commercially important and served in the restaurants of Bahir Dar.

   

Lodges

Most of Ethiopia's national parks still lack overnight facilities, but a few lodges in or near parks are now available:

Simien Mountains Lodge.

Kanta Lodge in Konso.

Simien Mountains Lodge.

Kanta Lodge in Konso.

   
Awash Lodge, Awash National Park. Buska Lodge, South Ethiopia.

Awash Lodge, Awash National Park.

Buska Lodge, South Ethiopia.

   
Paradise Lodge, Arba Minch Gheralta Lodge in Tigray

Paradyse Lodge, Arba Minch.

Gheralta Lodge.

   

So for viewing Ethiopian wildlife, don't expect large herds like you can see in Kenya or South Africa, because Ethiopia simply does not have it. However, you will be able to see birds and mammals that you can see nowhere else on earth, and for the real nature lover, that is extremely important.

   

National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

Ethiopia has 67 national parks, sanctuaries and controlled hunting areas (see map below), but not all of these are actively managed. Some of the most important area are listed in the next table.

 

NATIONAL PARKS & SANCTUARIES OF ETHIOPIA

AREAS

HECTARES

Abijata Shala Lakes

88,700

Alatish

266,600

Awash

75,600

Bale Mountains

247,100

Gambella

506,100

Geralle

385,800

Kafta Shiraro

250,000

Nechsar

51,400

Omo

406,800

Simien Mountains

41,200

Yangudi Rassa

473,100

Chebera Churchura

119,000

Dati Wolel

43,100

Denkoro Chaka

38,117

Gibe Sheleko

24,800

Kuni Muktar

150,000

Mago

194,200

Maze

20,200

Yabello

250,000

Lake Tana

 

Babile Elephant Sanctuary

698,200

Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary

5,400

Alledeghi

193,389

Chelbi

421,200

Mille Serdo

650,354

 

Map National Parks of Ethiopia

Our most popular Safari tour is our Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks and Tribes Safari tours, which give you the best options to see Ethiopian wildlife. But we can significantly increase your endemic wildlife and birds viewing chances by adding Bale Mountains and Simien Mountains National Parks.

ETHIOPIA CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PARKS & TRIBES SAFARI TOUR

WILDLIFE SAFARIS ETHIOPIA. DISCOVER ETHIOPIAN NATIONAL PARKS with former professional to Ethiopian Park Service

8 days. Price: starting at $890.

Day 1: ADDIS ABABA - AWASSA, ± 275km

  1. Stop at Lake Ziway for watching wetland birds;

  2. Abyjata-Shalla Lakes National Park to watch Ostriches and wetland birds at alkaline Lake Abijatta, including potentially Flamingos;

  3. Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary to watch the Swayne's Hartebeest. In this small nature reserve one almost can see the extremely rare Swayson's Hartebeest of which less than 500 survive in the wild, all in Ethiopia;

  4. Spend the night in Awassa.

 

Day 2: AWASSA - YABELLO, ± 410km

  1. Proposed Megado Podacarpus National Monument to take a look at one of the nicest Podocarpus forests of Ethiopia trees up to more than 1m wide and 35m high.

  2. Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary to see the endemic Stresemann's Bushcrow and White-tailed swallows, Burchell's Zebras and other wildlife.

  3. Spend the night at Yabello Motel.

 

Day 3: YABELLO - KONSO, ± 220km

  1. Konso tribal villages at Mecheke, including Konso tribal king's house. Konso is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site for its traditional landscape with terraces, its uniquely structured villages and huts and for their famous wooden statues;

  2. New York Village, so called after the vertical erosion formations that in the minds of local people look like sky-scrapers. In fact they are hoodoo formations of quartz minerals similar to those in Brice National Park in the USA.

  3. Kanta Lodge, a beautiful brand new lodge in Konso style luxury sleeping cabins and restaurant.

 

Day 4: KONSO - BUSKA LODGE, ± 130km

  1. Drive to Turmi to visit the Hamer People.

  2. Birding at the floodplane of Chelbi Wildlife Reserve

  3. Spend the night at Buska Lodge

 

Day 5:  BUSKA LODGE - JINKA, ± 140km

  1. Early in the morning, drive to the Mursi village in Mago National Park. Mursi women wear clay lip plates that they make from locally dug clay. The men adorn themselves with clay;

  2. game viewing Mago National Park. While wildlife stocks in Mago National Park are down, it is still one of the better places to see extraordinary wildlife;

  3. Sleep at Jinka Resort Hotel.

 

Day 6: JINKA - ARBA MINCH, ± 275km

  1. Long drive until arrival at hotel in Arba Minch, overlooking Nechsar National Park.

  2. If we can get permission from the park we go looking for the mysterious Nechisar Nightjar.

 

Day 7: NETCH SAR PARK AND LAKE CHAMO EXCURSIONS

  1. In the morning drive to Netchsar National Park on the istmus seperating Lake Abaya and Chamo. There still is a herd of the endemic Swayne's hartebeests, Burchell's zebra are very common, greater and lesser kudus are frequently seen, as well as grants gazelle. Out of the more than 180 species of birds recorded, you have a good chance at seeing Secretary bird, Ground hornbill, different species of bustards, etc.

  2. In the afternoon we go on boat ride along the western shore of Lake Chamo to watch African Crocodiles, Hippopotamus and a large variety of wetland birds.

  3. Return to the hotel at night and if permission granted again look for the Nechisar Nightjar.

 

Day 8: ARBA MINCH - ADDIS ABABA, ± 505km

  1. Return to Addis Ababa. Alternatively you have the option to fly back to Addis Ababa at additional costs for the flight, which we would recommend as it is a long ride back to Addis Ababa.

The price of this WILDLIFE SAFARI ETHIOPIA starts at $890 and includes transportation, entry fees, non-alcoholic beverages, tee/coffee at meals, hotels.

 

 
       

Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 2 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for very comfortable, affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The second best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and than continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $25 - $35 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!

 

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Phone USA:

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Phone Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (++251) (0) 911 440 915
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